Cheapest Cars To Buy Based On 5-Year Maintenance Costs

There is a lot that will cost you once you buy a new or used car besides the purchase price. Everything from insurance to maintenance and depreciation factors into the purchase, just not right away. But factoring in all of those costs and more over five years, these are the least-expensive cars to own over five years. 

They’re broken down into segments since smaller cars will always be cheaper to own. So we’re looking at the compact, midsize, full-size, sports car, entry-level luxury, and luxury groups. This comes from data furnished by Kelley Blue Book, and only centers on gas-powered cars, not hybrids or EVs. Of course, this segment is dominated by Japanese manufacturers, with the exception of the lone Volvo. 

Compact Car

2022 Toyota Corolla

Front angle view of new 2023 Toyota Corolla Sedan with Celestite exterior paint color
Celestite/Midnight Black Metallic 2023 Toyota Corolla Sedan | Toyota

Since a lot of this data deals with maintenance costs, Toyota is going to be in the fray. In this case, compared to the average new compacts, it is projected that the Corolla will cost owners $2,323 over five years. The total five-year cost to own is projected at $31,464. Besides its spacious cabin and good resale value, it also offers a gang of safety features that are mostly found in higher-priced cars.

Midsize Car

2022 Honda Accord

A red Honda Accord Hybrid midsize sedan is parked.
The Honda Accord Hybrid | Honda

The highlights of the Corolla also apply to the Honda Accord. Reliability, lots of cabin space, and great resale apply here. Plus, less maintenance. Also, the Accord does well with economy numbers, with 30 mpg in the City and 38 mpg on the Highway. Over five years the Accord will cost a projected $38,713, saving almost $900 over the segment average.

Full-Size Car

2022 Toyota Avalon

2022 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
2022 Toyota Avalon Hybrid | Toyota

The Avalon has mostly disappeared from Toyota’s lineup, and we’re not sure why. Compared to the average in this segment, it is projected to save $3,570 over five years. Inside, it is as luxurious as its Lexus counterpart but costs much less. The V6 offers good, if not head-slamming, performance. Toyota’s hybrid system has had over 15 years of refinement, which shows. Prices start at $36,275.

Sports Car

2022 Subaru BRZ

The Subaru BRZ Limited is a great option for folks who want an alternative to the Dodge Challenger.
Subaru BRZ | Subaru

The BRZ squeaks into the sports car segment, establishing an estimated savings of $21, 739 over five years. Of course, being in this segment means it competes with Porsche, Alfa Romeo, and more. We know maintenance costs for those can be stinging. Overall, after five years the BRZ will cost $40,397.

Entry-Level Luxury

2022 Acura ILX

A white Acura ILX driving down a curvy road.
Acura ILX | Acura

This is Acura’s entry-level model, but it doesn’t scrimp on luxury features. It is based on the Honda Civic, which has grown in size and offerings. KBB estimates that over five years it will cost owners $41,192. That saves $14,684 over the average in this segment. There are other cars that will offer better handling and performance, but you’ll pay more for that, especially when maintenance is considered. 

Luxury Car

2022 Volvo S90

Volvo S90
2023 Volvo S90 hybrid sedan | Volvo

With all-wheel drive as standard equipment, good fuel economy, and a hybrid option, you still save more in this segment by buying the S90. The hybrid powertrain is new for 2022, and it is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Over five years it is projected to save $16,145, with a cost of ownership of $67,365.